Book Review: Love in Disguise

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox brings us to the edge of believability in her story about an unlikely heroine, Ellie Moore.

Ellie worked as the assistant of a famous actress. She had big dreams and a big attitude where it concerned her acting ability. However, Ellie’s dreams slip by when a trip to Europe is cruelly taken from her by someone with an equally big ego. Jobless, Ellie searches the streets of Chicago looking for another job when she runs into two detectives from the renowned Pinkerton Agency. They eventually hire Ellie.

The Pinkertons send her across the country to Arizona where a group of silver mine owners are losing profit because of robbers. Somehow, the perpetrator always knows where the silver shipments are going or where they are hidden. The Pinkerton Detective Agency doesn’t know Ellie’s assigned partner got married and left. This leaves Ellie with only one choice in order to keep income coming in and to prove her acting abilities to the agency. In this small town of Pickford, Arizona, Ellie goes as two people. She is both Lavinia, an aging woman and Lavinia’s young niece, Jessie.

This of course creates a Superman problem. Like Clark Kent and Superman was never in the same place at the same time so Ellie must work her make-up and costume magic in order to keep a small town from knowing that she is a Pinkerton Agent.

Steven Pierce, one of the mine owners, thinks the Pinkerton Agency hasn’t sent anyone. He begins to fall in love with Jessie. No one knows who is feeding the robbers information, but as we get closer to the end Carol creates fascinating tensions between Ellie and Steven as well as bringing about humorous situations. The problem, of course, in the story is how Ellie is able with what was available back then make a convincing older woman?

When I have gone to see theater, it was always obvious to me with what they have available now that the person is wearing layers of make-up to appear older. The heavy lines across a young face are only convincing in my opinion when bright lights and dark theaters accompany it. In daylight, I wonder about how this situation could be possible or even realistic? Also, the end left me hoping for a sequel because of all the story threads Carol has put in the novel. She has brought Pickford, Arizona alive.

Although, I had a problem with the believability, I appreciate the difficulty of putting together this Superman meets Agatha Christie novel. Carol managed to make me believe it was possible for a younger woman to look older and brought about the emotions typical of a good happily ever after story. Carol is well-versed in Arizona history and her research comes through quite realistically. I gave this novel five stars.

*Book given by author to review.